Saturday, 9 March 2019

29 States That Will be Electing Governors In Today's Election

Gubernatorial elections will take place in 29 states where 1,068 candidates alongside their deputies, fielded by multiple political parties, will participate. There are 91 political parties that have been registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but not all of them fielded candidates.

In the past few weeks, some of the political parties have gone into alliances with leading political parties like the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However, the adoption came long after INEC had printed ballot papers with logos of all the political parties.

Similarly, the over 70m prospective voters are expected select 991 house of assembly members from the 14, 643 that have been cleared by INEC to participate in the legislative contest scheduled to hold in all the 36 states of the federation.

However, there will be no governorship elections in seven states namely, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo and Osun.

Like in all the states, The FCT Police Command has restricted movement to ensure hitch-free Area Council polls. There are 105 FCT chairmanship candidates and 701 councillorship candidates contesting for the six seats and 62 councilors in the territory.

The state of the states

Imo, with 90 governorship candidates, tops the list of states with high number of candidates. Almost all registered parties have fielded candidates in the Southeastern state. It is followed by Rivers, with 64 candidates; Kano came third with 55, Sokoto has 51 candidates to come fourth; Delta came fifth with 50 candidates and Akwa Ibom and Lagos states came sixth with 45 candidates each.

Yobe, Jigawa and Katsina states have 13, 16 and 18 candidates to record the lowest number of candidates.

Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said there will be state houses of assembly elections in states that will not have governorship elections, meaning the whole country will be affected by voting activities.

Of the 29 states holding governorship elections today, 17 of them are currently controlled by the ruling APC while 12 are in the hands of the opposition PDP, with each seeking to gain more ground.

The states controlled by the APC include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Yobe and Zamfara.

On the other hand, the PDP is in charge in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Kwara, Rivers, Sokoto and Taraba states.

19 races for second terms

Now about completing their first term of four years, 19 governors will be looking forward to clinching a second term in office.

In this category are governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Jibrilla Bindo (Adamawa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ben Ayade (Cross River), and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta). Others include Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Muhammad Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi) and Abubakar Bello (Niger). kAlso in this category are Simon Lalong (Plateau), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).

For each of the 19 first-term governors, it is time to consolidate, and no effort will be spared to secure a second term. However, nine other governors are completing their statutory second terms. These include governors Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara).

While Shettima, Okorocha, Al-Makura, Amosun, Gaidam and Yari would proceed to the Senate later in June after winning in their constituencies on Feb. 23, Dankwambo and Ajimobi were defeated in the contest while Abdulfatah who indicated interest in going to the Senate could not scale through the primary election of the PDP in Kwara. The three politicians are yet to disclose their political destination after May 29.

In varying degrees also, each of the outgoing governors have anointed a successor, either within their own political platform or elsewhere. For instance, Shettima has smoothened the APC governorship ticket in Borno for Professor Babagana Zulum, said to be a veritable shoo-in.

The same goes for Abdullahi Sule, the APC governorship candidate for Nasarawa, who has the support of Al-Makura.

In Yobe, the emergence of the APC governorship candidate, Maimala Buni, is undoubtedly due to the influence of outgoing Governor Geidam.

In Gombe, Bayero Nafada equally emerged the PDP governorship candidate through the endorsement of Governor Dankwambo.

Meanwhile, outgoing Governor Ahmed and Razak Atunwa, the PDP governorship candidate in Kwara, are both backed by the Saraki political dynasty.

Like in Ogun, Okorocha in Imo did not only anoint a successor candidate, but did so outside the APC. His son-in-law and former chief of staff, Uche Nwosu, is flying the flag of Action Alliance (AA).

Both Amosun and Okorocha rode on the back of APC to win their senatorial tickets.

It is unlikely that last week’s suspension of the intransigent duo of Okorocha and Amosun, by the APC National Working Committee, will deter them from working for the victory of their anointed candidates in today’s election.

Perhaps the only exception is Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State, who was denied a second term ticket through high wire political intrigues hatched by APC national leader Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Quite unlike other outgoing governors, Ambode was not giving the privilege to anoint his successor as Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the APC governorship candidate in Lagos was directly picked by Tinubu just as he had done for Ambode four years ago.

Sanwo-Olu has also been tipped to carry the day unless Ambode decides to throw a spanner in his works, which is unlikely, going by the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state, in which APC did very well.

It is not yet clear what Ambode’s port of call will be after leaving office, since he did not seek election into the Senate. However, the insinuation is that he may land a consolatory ministerial appointment in President Buhari’s cabinet.

States to watch

Analysts have singled out certain states to watch in today’s contest, perhaps for possible surprises and upsets. The states include Bauchi, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, and Taraba.

Bauchi is a state to watch because of the opposition’s resolve to dethrone the sitting governor. There is no doubt that the governor has the incumbency factor on his side, but it will be suicidal for him to write-off a coalition of over 33 opposition parties, which have pooled resources to fight him, including the Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara.

In Gombe, incumbent Governor Dankwanbo is fighting the political battle of his life to enthrone Bayero Nafada of PDP. This is because in the just-concluded election, the APC swept all the Senate and House of Reps seats, including that of the governor himself. It will, however, be a miracle for the governor to bounce back today.

The Imo governorship contest will prove interesting to watch, simply because none of the three leading contenders is a pushover. The incumbent Governor Okorocha is fielding his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, on the platform of another party, Action Alliance (AA).

Okorocha has the means, in addition to the two House of Reps seats won by the AA last two weeks, which has energized the party. However, that was in Okorocha’s enclave of Imo West (Orlu Zone).

Hope Uzodimma, the APC candidate is not only a man of means but also a serving senator currently representing Okorocha’s Imo West (Orlu Zone). The fact that he comes from Okorocha’s Orlu Zone, will definitely affect his fortunes in today’s race.

Many analysts have tipped Emeka Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps and the PDP governorship candidate, to carry the day.

Ihedioha is from Owerri Zone (Imo East), which has not occupied the Douglas House since Evans Enwerem’s tenure was truncated by the military in 1993. This is indeed a big plus for him in today’s governorship polls. “Many in the zone, including traditional rulers and religious leaders, see today’s contest as theirs to grab, and they would have themselves to blame if they fail to,” one of the traditional rulers in Mbaise confided in Daily Trust Saturday.

In Kaduna, it is a two-horse race between incumbent Malam Nasir El-Rufai of the APC and his PDP counterpart, former lawmaker, Isa Ashiru. Both of them are Muslims but while el-Rufai also has a fellow Muslim and Southern Kaduna woman, Hadiza Balarabe, as a running mate, Ashiru has Sunday Katung, a Southern Kaduna Christian as his. It will, however, be hasty to say who will carry the day, despite the obvious advantages of the APC candidate, El-Rufai, as an incumbent.

As Abdulrazak Atunwa of PDP slugs it out with Abdulrazaq Abdulraman of APC in Kwara, the outcome of today’s governorship contest will decide whether the Saraki political dynasty will survive the political tsunami that struck two weeks ago.

Although PDP is currently wobbling in the state, especially given the outcome of the just-concluded election, it would be out of place to write the party off.

The party has the incumbent Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to bank on, and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, will also likely prove his mettle.

However, the recent endorsement of the APC by a myriad other political parties and candidates in the state will certainly play a big role in the outcome of today’s election.

In Nasarawa, David Ombugadu of the PDP will square-off against Kabiru Sule of the APC. Ombugadu is an experienced grassroots politician as well as an incumbent member of the House of Reps. Sule, on the other hand, has the formidable backing of Al-Makura. Added to that is the just-concluded election in which the APC clinched the three senatorial seats and three out of the five Reps seats.

Analysts point to these factors as likely to sway more voters to the APC side, especially if some PDP stalwarts in the state, such as Solomon Ewuga, decide to look on.

Like Imo, the Ogun governorship race is interesting because the outgoing governor, Ibikunle Amosun of the APC, will pull all stops to install his favored candidate, Adekunle Akinlade of the APM. It is a two-horse race between Akinlade and APC’s Dapo Abiodun.

However, the recent Appeal Court decision to uphold Buruji Kashamu as the authentic PDP candidate in the state would likely be a decisive factor in today’s race. Some days ago, mainstream PDP supporters, led by former Governor Gbenga Daniel, adopted Abiodun in what appears to be an impending protest vote. Ogun is also the state of origin of Vice President, Yemi Osinbabjo. These factors, analysts contend, would likely propel Abiodun of APC to victory.

Of all the states in South West, Oyo is perhaps the most difficult to predict because of the peculiar nature of its politics, said to be Ibadan-centric, but that is not to say that other political blocs, such as Ogbomoso, Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun, are not influential enough. Today’s two-horse race between Seyi Makinde of PDP and Adebayo Adelabu of the APC will not be entirely different. Both Ajimobi and Makinde are from the Ojoba area of Ibadan while Adelabu is from Kudeti, also in Ibadan.

Outside Ibadan, Alao-Akala’s recent alliance with the APC cannot be ruled out, especially given the fact that he is a former governor with a large followership in his native Ogbomoso axis. But then, Seyi Makinde’s popularity has soared of recent, due largely to Ajimobi’s perceived non-performance, especially among civil servants.

In Plateau, it is a straight fight between incumbent Governor Simon Lalong of the APC and the 75-year-old former Minister of the FCT and incumbent Senator Jeremiah Useni. If the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly election is anything to go by, then it will be hasty to conclude on who will carry Plateau, APC or PDP.

If violence does not disrupt the governorship poll in Rivers, the incumbent Governor Nyesom Wike of PDP will be slugging it out with a cohort of candidates from other political parties, except the crisis-ridden APC. Although the race had been conceded to Wike by pollsters even before the election, the recent adoption of the AAC candidate, Biokpomabo Awara, by the Chibuike Amaechi-led faction of the APC cannot be dismissed. However, analysts still insist that today’s contest is Wike’s to take, so it remains to be seen how he could be edged out.

Before the incumbent Governor Aminu Tambuwal decided to pitch his tent with PDP in 2018, Sokoto State was all APC. In fact, the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly election has proved that, indeed, not much has changed. The APC carted away almost everything, Senate and House of Reps seats.

The APC governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu, is working hard to displace Tambuwal and the overwhelming defections from PDP to APC have further boost his morale. Governorship election, they say, is a different ball game; however, it will be a surprise for Tambuwal to stage a comeback and retain his position.

The incumbent Governor Darius Ishaku of PDP is gradually cruising to victory in Taraba State, in part due to the legal distractions that have slowed down the pace of his APC opponent, Sani Danladi. At present, there is nothing to suggest that there will be any upset in the outcome of today’s governorship poll. Hence, Ishaku is expected to carry the day, things being equal.

Prospects on voter turnout

On the low turnout of voters, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan, said one of the reasons for the low turnout of voters on February 23 was the postponement of the election by one week. “So what is the essence if people do not have the basics of life provided for them? The nature of politics, the fear of violence and people not being contented with the system are also a major factor for the low turnout,” she said.

She said the government, politicians and INEC have to show credibility in order to gain the people’s trust and encourage them to come out and vote on Saturday.

On his part, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Malam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said there may be lower voters turn-out on Saturday due to fear of the possible violence. He also said the voters may prefer to take more interests in the presidential election above the states.

Source:Daily Trust

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